Date: 31 March 2009
Local community restoration groups are the big winners as $1 million is invested in native planting projects throughout the country as a result of the first round of the Community Conservation Fund allocations, Director General of Conservation Al Morrison announced today.
“This is a significant boost to restoration projects that have strong partnerships between the community, councils, and government departments,” Mr. Morrison said.
The figures themselves are impressive. Forty six projects are receiving funding for over a quarter of a million plants as part of these community initiatives. Eleven thousand metres of fencing will also be erected to protect restoration plantings from stock and pests with over 3,000 volunteers undertaking weed control, plantings and maintenance.
The grants have been allocated throughout New Zealand from Northland to Southland towards projects involved in a range of habitats from coastal dunes to wetlands and forest remnants.
Overall, Northland, Auckland, Wellington and Otago were the most successful regions, receiving funding for between five and seven projects each, while Waikato, Nelson, Canterbury and Southland each had either three or four successful applications approved.
The largest grant of $89,000 was to the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society who have undertaken the restoration of fore-dunes at Distal Spit - an internationally significant nesting area for the endangered fairy tern and other native seabirds. The Society is installing a windbreak fence to trap the sand and planting native spinifex and pingao on new and previously established dunes.
The smallest grant of $3,000 went to Lincoln Envirotown Trust to purchase plants for restoration of Mahoe Reserve, an old gravel pit adjacent to Lincoln Golf Course.
Looking at the 46 projects, the community initiatives illustrate the shift in recent years towards community management of local areas with conservation potential. “The allocations reflected the significant community contribution that is being made by restoration groups but the grants also provided a boost to the economy through the purchase of plants, equipment and other products associated with restoration. Mr. Morrison said “The benefits in restoring small areas will have very positive social spin offs with communities engaging and working together to achieve common visions.
The $1 million of Government funds will be supplemented further by an estimated $1 million from other funding and community group contributions.
The Community Conservation Fund supports existing community restoration projects on public lands and requires groups to have the capacity to provide ongoing support for the plantings. Projects on Council, Conservation, Railway, LINZ, Transit and other Government lands and Maori Reservations are eligible. Projects are generally limited to a maximum of $40,000 per annum and the allocation of funds is guided by the Government’s national priorities for the protection of indigenous biodiversity.
The second of three funding rounds for this two year Community Conservation Fund will be announced in early April.